Guilty Pleasures : Crave-Worthy Bites at these Bali Hotspots

Dining | Written By, Edward Speirs |

There are foods out there that ooze and drip, that make you salivate at the very sight of them, that you crave even though you know you shouldn’t. These we call the guilty pleasures.

Even those on strict diets have cheat days, so there’s simply no excuse for letting yourself indulge in something this generation would describe as being a little bit ‘extra’. Yes, it’s time to shutdown your self control and lock away your shame, as you’re likely to take some voracious bites into these dishes. The venues listed here showcase some of Bali’s juiciest burgers, deep-fried goodness, gluttonous sharing platters and over-the-top desserts. It’s time to treat yourself.

Hard Rock Cafe

With rock and roll as its foundation, the legendary Hard Rock Cafe® definitely knows what it means to indulge! Recently, the Kuta-based Hard Rock Cafe® Bali launched the brand’s most extensive menu innovation in the company’s history, with more than 20 new offerings being released.

Already known for their Original Legendary® Burger, Hard Rock Cafe Bali felt that with their new menu had to go even bigger and even better. That’s why they introduced the world’s first edible 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger™. Yes, that’s right, it’s a burger with bling! You’ve never seen a burger so glamorous in your life, so if you’re looking to add a little more luxe to your meal, bite into this ½-lb of fresh Steak Burger topped with 24-Karat edible gold leaf with cheddar cheese, leaf lettuce, vine-ripened tomato and red onion. If you think a bite of this glittering beef stack will give you a guilty conscience, think again, because proceeds from this burger will benefit non-profit organisation Kopernik to support their food initiatives addressing poverty & malnutrition in remote areas of Indonesia. See, from guilty to guilt-free!

The new menu offers a whole slew of other ‘Steak Burgers’ as well, such as The Original Legendary Burger (a ½-lb. fresh Steak Burger with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, crispy onion ring, leaf lettuce and vine-ripened tomato, served with Hard Rock’s signature steak sauce on the side), or the Double Decker Double Cheeseburger (one full pound of two stacked ½-lb. fresh Steak Burgers with American cheese, mayonnaise, leaf lettuce, vine-ripened tomato and red onion). New sliders and ‘shareables’ also make it onto the menu, but go the extra mile with their new Boozy Milkshakes. These naughty shakes garnished with toppings, cream, chocolate and more will have you on the booze-cruise as you sip this liquid dessert – also available without alcohol. So ‘dine like a legend’ with Bali’s most luxurious burger, as Hard Rock Cafe Bali’s presents a stream of live music to top it all off.

Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta
+62 361 755661
hardrockcafe.com/location/bali

Lagoona Restaurant

With a beach club atmosphere by day and intimate dining venue by night, Ayodya Resort Bali’s Lagoona Restaurant is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Housed within a charming Joglo-style dining room that enjoys views out to the resort’s private Mengiat Beach in Nusa Dua, the restaurant presents a huge array of barbecue and grilled selections with top quality meats and seafood, wood-fire oven pizzas and more food for the soul.

As you’re by the sea, it’s best to indulge in a grilled Seafood Platter, to enjoy a smorgasbord of fresh fruits-de-mer! The generous dish consists of scallops, prawns, fish fillet, crab and mussels. If you’re feeling especially royal there’s an option of adding lobster to the list. These ocean delights are grilled to perfection by the chefs, with a delicious Balinese sauce giving it that extra flavour. If you’re craving more succulent seafood, other Lagoona Signatures include their hearty Seafood Paella, Giant Seafood Skewers and a creamy Lobster Fettuccini.

Jalan Pantai Mengiat, Nusa Dua
+62 361 771102
ayodyaresortbali.com

The Butchers Club Steakhouse Bali

As their name suggests, The Butchers Club Steakhouse Bali is a place for meat lovers. They’re known first and foremost for their finger-licking gourmet burgers, made with dry-aged meat. However, with their skills with dry-aged meat they offer hulking cuts of meat than Rocky himself would use as punching bag.

All of their steaks, which they offer as house-cut and bone-in, are 120 day grain fed Kilarra Black Angus from New South Wales. Since we’re talking about guilty pleasures, we suggest you settle for nothing less than the 1kg T-Bone steak, dry-aged for 21 days and grilled to perfection over fruit tree charcoal for that extra flavour. The brave will tackle this beast alone, but sharing means you’re able to try some of Butchers Club’s other crave-quenchers. Back to their burgers, the most famous on the menu is Double Happiness, where it’s double everything: patty, cheese, bacon, grilled cheese sandwich. However, their Wu-Tang style is not far behind, with a beef patty fried in sriracha, kimchi, tempura sweet potato, cheddar, and kewpie mayo. To wash it all down, Butchers Club is introducing classic milkshakes to the menu this March. These are guaranteed to be your proper milkshake, no blended ice as so many do, just thick with ice cream and milk. You know what they say, in for a penny, in for pound!

Jalan Petitenget Gang Cendrawasih No. 1, Kerobokan
+62 81340271458
thebutchersclubbali.com

Poppies Restaurant

How about a sojourn around the Indonesian archipelago? The legendary Poppies Restaurant in Kuta offers a dining experience that takes you back in time; established in 1973, this historic destination presents a menu of international and Indonesian food, fine-tuned over decades to showcase the favourites of their countless repeating guests. Tried, tested and now timeless.

For a true feast, Poppies invites you to take a culinary journey through the ‘Dutch East Indies’ with their signature Rijsttafel. Meaning rice table, this was a typical sampling experience made by the colonial Dutch as way of savouring the very best Indonesian dishes all in one sitting. It was also a way for colonists to impress visiting dignitaries, showing them just how rich, exotic and abundant their archipelago was. Whilst the Dutch are long-gone, the Rijsttafel’s mission continues, only you are now the visiting dignitary it plans to impress! The Poppies’ Rijsttafel presents nine dishes of meat and vegetables, including the favourite Indonesian rendang; additional chicken and fish satays on a table grill; with sides of rice and an array sauces and condiments to add to your liking. You’ll be travelling both back in time and around the country through this generous rice table, beneath a canopy of flowers, amidst pools and waterfalls.

Jalan Poppies 1, Kuta
+62 361 751059
poppiesbali.com

Henry’s Grill & Bar

With a menu fulled by flames, Henry’s Grill & Bar showcases the secrets that wood-fired cooking holds when it comes to mouthwatering meats. You can browse through Henry’s menu and pick-out many guilty pleasures – like their Crispy Pork Belly Nuggets, Pig Cheek Terrine, or Crispy Mozzarella sticks – but it’s hard to peel your eyes away from their offerings of sizzling steaks.

Henry’s Grill & Bar is a modern, 2-storey steakhouse that features an open kitchen concept, with two custom-made stainless steel grill as its centrepiece. Their ‘Beef’ menu features 30-day dry aged grain fed Angus, offered in sizes from 200g to 900g. Of course, bigger is better, and the 900g US USDA Bone-in Rib Eye or 900g Australian Porterhouse are the ultimate selections on this meaty menu. This Bali steakhouse burns a collection of different woods daily to create coals that will then be used to enhance the natural characteristics of the ingredients, producing perfectly aged smoked and cured meats. For extra indulgence, order the popular Smoked Bacon Macaroni & Cheese as a side and finish it off with their naughty version of a banana split: Rum Caramel Ice Cream with sugar torched banana, white chocolate and toasted peanut.

Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta
+62 361 475 4992
henrysbali.com

Mr.Wayan

Not many would consider Balinese food to be deeply indulgent. Flavoursome, rich and fragrant, yes – but a guilty pleasure? Well, we aren’t talking about your simple urap (mixed vegetables with grated coconut) or satay lilit (traditional fish-paste based satay). Certain dishes definitely belong on the naughty list.

Mr Wayan, a restaurant focusing on authentic Balinese cuisine, is found both at Wapa di Ume Resort in Ubud, overlooking rice fields; and on the top floor of Beachwalk Mall in Kuta, with a view of the ocean. Things get naughty at Mr.Wayan when it comes to one of their signature dishes, ‘Bebek Megoreng’. It’s their take on the traditional Balinese crispy-fried duck. Before being fried, the duck is lathered with rich herbs and spices known as ‘base gede’, the core herb paste of Balinese food. When suitably marinated the duck is then dipped into sizzling oil, removed only when it has come to a golden brown. The deep fry gives the meat a satisfyingly crispy finish – which is why its often referred to as Balinese Crispy Duck – which ensures the flavours of the spices are sealed in the meat. You are served half a duck, with a trio of sambal (chilli paste) if you’re in need of an extra kick.

Wapa di Ume Resort & Spa, Ubud

Level 3, Beachwalk Shopping Mall, Kuta
mrwayan.com

Bali Bola

The grand finale is always something sweet and this ‘flexitarian’ café in Seminyak takes their sweets to a whole new level. You’ll see straight away from their façade, with its bright and bursting sugar-pop colours, that Balibola has a penchant for extravagance, which also applies to their flamboyant food presentation.

Perhaps the most wonderfully over-the-top dishes you’ll find in this meatless eatery are their OMG! Ricotta Pancakes and The WTF! Waffle (excuse our French). Exploding with colour and vibrance, these breakfast-meets-dessert dishes are teeming with toppings and lavishly layered with naughty goodness. The WTF! Waffle is Balibola’s latest creation: between layers of purple vegan waffles, you’ll find a smothering of peanut butter, berry sauce and their very own vegan whipped cream oozing out the sides. Fuchsia-coloured granola, candied peanuts and tropical fruits are sprinkled around the salacious stack, before a rainbow topping completes the look. A chocolate-filled syringe allows you to squeeze on an extra dose of delight. The equally exuberant pancakes are made of soft and fluffy ricotta, topped with mixed berry compote, a chocolate shot, and ice cream on the side. Yes, they are as delicious as they sound and the impressive presentation make for a jealousy-inducing Instagram post too. The best part, being vegetarian and vegan makes these desserts permissible even on the strictest of diets… right?

Jalan Petitenget No. 8X, Seminyak
+62 812 9167 2276
instagram.com/balibo.la

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